Britain’s best train journeys
To celebrate 100 years of the Flying Scotsman, here’s five of the best rail trips in the UK
This year marks the centenary celebration of the Flying Scotsman, with special events planned all through 2023. The National Railway Museum in York has a programme of activities – you can see the famous steam locomotive up close from April 1-23 and get a chance to take a trip on it, at various locations around the country.
In honour of the most famous train in the world – I’ve rounded up five of Britain’s best train journeys:
1. The Jacobite Steam Train
Who doesn’t want to go on the Hogwarts Express? The Jacobite might not take you to Hogwarts, but it will take you on one of Britain’s most spectacular journeys. It runs between Fort William and Mallaig in Scotland, including across the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which Potterheads will recognise from the movies. This journey is meant to be magic. Visit westcoastrailways.co.uk
2. Belmond British Pullman
For a taste of the Orient Express in the UK, book on one of the Belmond British Pullman journeys. I’ve taken a trip on this and it is absolutely beautiful. A restored 1920s train, it has individually-named carriages, all upholstered in vintage fabrics, with fine-dining at your seat. I took the Garden of England day trip, which included a five-course lunch, but other routes go to destinations such as Oxford and Blenheim Palace. There’s even a murder mystery trip. Visit Belmond.com
3. Snowdon Mountain Railway
One of the most spectacular train journeys in the country is almost vertical – on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, which climbs up Mount Snowdon, Yr Wyddfa, in Wales, so you don’t have to. There are diesel and steam trains, which depart from Llanberis Station and begin their ascent to the summit – a trip which has been made by 12 million people since 1896. Visit snowdonrailway.co.uk
4. Ffestiniog Railway
For a longer journey around the Snowdonia region, jump on board the Ffestiniog Railway, the world’s oldest narrow-gauge railway, which runs from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog. This steam train goes from the sea to the mountains, past waterfalls and lakes, round hairpin bends and through forests, for an unforgettable trip. Visit festrail.co.uk
5. The Settle – Carlisle Railway
Another absolutely spectacular train trip is on the Settle-Carlisle Railway, which runs through the stunning Yorkshire countryside, past the Lake District, to Cumbria. It attracts train fans from all over the world. You can catch an ordinary train service along the route, or book one of its special steam trains. Visit settle-carlisle.co.uk
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